Avoiding Illness in the Air or on the Road

woman at international airport waiting for flight at terminal

The smell of pine is in the air, with decorations going up around my neighborhood and carols floating out of stores. Travel is another theme of this time of the year, with most people traveling around Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. While more people head out for the holidays on Thanksgiving, those traveling for Christmas and New Year’s tend to go farther, and all that travel can be hard on your body and bad for your health. Before you leave for your vacations and family visits, I want you to take some time with me to go over a few pointers on how to stay safe and healthy this holiday season. Read more  »

Taking Care of Your Teeth This Holiday

woman-brushing-teeth

When my kids were growing up, they hated going to the dentist. Between the sounds of the cleaning tools and the gross-tasting fluoride gels, it was a struggle to get them out the door when they knew it was time to get their teeth cleaned. And while their fears have mostly gone away as they’ve grown into adults, I’ve found that fear of the dentist still lingers in many of my patients. As adults, we often don’t think much about our teeth unless they’re bothering us, but waiting too long to take care of your oral health can spell disaster. With holiday sweets already making it into the mouths of many, I think it’s time to do a bit of a refresher on how to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy this holiday season. Read more  »

Working Out in a Winter Wonderland

Woman running in winter

While we haven’t had snow in New York City yet, I always find it harder to get myself out of bed for a workout in the morning knowing it’s chilly outside. If you’re anything like me, the winter weather poses a significant challenge to your exercise habits. Most people drop outdoor activity to focus on the indoors, but gym fees or lack of needed equipment at home can make winter a time that ruins exercise regimens. To help keep you active this winter, I want to share some of the strategies I’ve found helpful in staying fit even when the weather is cold out. Getting started now will help to keep you from losing your summer momentum. Read more  »

Why Sex Isn’t Always Just Fun and Games

Couple in bed

When you go to see your doctor, you may be surprised if they ask about your sex life (and are a little bashful to approach the topic). Chances are, they’re not trying to pry. Rather, they may discover something that directly impacts the treatments they are providing to you. The thing is, older adults often don’t think of themselves as being at risk for sexually transmitted infections, which might partly explain why infections have been rising dramatically in the over-50 age group for the last decade. It’s World AIDS Day today, and I’d like to spend some time talking about why being careful with your sex life can have a big impact on other areas of your health as well. Read more  »

Have Your Healthiest Thanksgiving Yet

Family at the dinner table at the Thanksgiving day.

I always always find myself with mixed feeling around Thanksgiving time. On the one hand, it serves as a great excuse to get the whole family together for a reunion you would rarely otherwise have. On the other hand, it can be one of the most hectic and stressful weekends of the year, especially if you’re traveling. Many of my patients tell me it derails their exercise regimens and diets they’ve been working on for months. Like me, you’ve probably wondered if it’s even possible to have a healthy, low stress Thanksgiving. Well I’ve got news for you. Not only do I think it’s possible, I think it’s within your reach this year. Spend a few minutes with me learning how to make this Thanksgiving a healthy one without significant sacrifices. Read more  »

Kicking the Habit Is Closer than You Think

woman quit smoking

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how much I worry about my patients with diabetes, but there’s another group I often fret about: smokers. As a society, we’ve made huge leaps in helping people quit and in preventing people from starting in the first place. In spite of that, there are still a lot of people out there who smoke. As I’ve mentioned in the past, living a healthy life is impossible if you smoke cigarettes. The damage this habit wreaks on almost every organ of your body contributes to the early death of the equivalent of two 747 planes of Americans every day. But if you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard all of this before and chances are good you’re ready to quit. The Great American Smokeout is this week, and I want to get into what you can do to get off of cigarettes and the sorts of changes you can hope to see once you kick the habit. Read more  »

A Pressing Health Issue for the Men in Your Life

couple beach sunglasses fun

I’ve noticed more than a few new mustaches around the office recently, reminding me that we’ve once again entered the month of November or, more accurately, Movember. This year’s Movember advocates are emphasizing the importance of mental health for men, a topic I think is one of the most important challenges men face. I’d like to take a few moments this week to talk about men’s mental health, in particular, why men are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, and how you can get the men in your life on track for better mental health. Read more  »

Turning the Tide Against Diabetes

Diabetes blood sugar reading

I always worry about my patients with diabetes. As I’m a cardiothoracic surgeon, all of my patients are sick by definition, but of all of my patients, it is the diabetics who are the most unpredictable. Diabetes was a disease almost unknown in children and uncommon in adults 20 years ago. Today, it’s one of the most common adult diseases and is on the rise in kids. This potentially devastating disease can affect just about every organ of the body and dramatically shorten your life. Fortunately, we’re turning the tide. Over the years that diabetes has become more common, it’s also become better understood. It’s National Diabetes Month and I want to spend some time talking about diabetes and what you can do to defeat it. Read more  »

Weighing Your Options When Choosing a Scale

woman-on-scale

My old bathroom scale broke the other day and I was faced with the challenging task of having to buy a new one. I thought the process would be easy at first until I actually got online. After years of using an old analog dial scale, I hadn’t really realized how the options for measuring your weight had exploded recently. I had a look through some of the different types available and wanted to share my thoughts on the process with you in hopes that it might help you get a scale that fits your needs. Read more  »

Why You Need a Primary-Care Provider

doctor-patient

When you become a doctor, you get used to answering all sorts of questions from friends and family. Sometimes it’s a new bunion that’s appeared or a rash that won’t go away, but recently a friend asked me whether or not they really needed a family doctor. When I was growing up, having a family doctor was a no-brainer and your family had often been going to the same one for decades. But now, with so many specialists to choose from even within the primary-care fields, it can be tempting to think that having a primary-care doctor isn’t so necessary after all. I’d like to spend some time this week discussing why you need a primary provider and what sort of care you should look for. Read more  »